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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Foraging

Last week I had to work late which is not a huge deal - it happens. David called me during the day to tell me when I got home I couldn't go in the kitchen because he had tiled and he didn't think we could walk on it til tomorrow. Hmm. So, I got done with work around 8pm and figured I'd go to one of the fast food places that are all over where I work. Now, being a vegetarian makes it a little more difficult, but not impossible - Mickey D's is out though, even if it is not meat, it's boiled in meat flavored oil. I went to Taco Bell because I figured I could just get a bean and cheese taco,burrito, a bean and cheese something. I ordered, was handed a paper bag and off I headed to the turnpike.

I took a bite and then spit it out, apparently someone thought I said "beef" and acted accordingly. I sometimes wonder if I ate meat if I would like it - you know it's been over 25 years since I ate meat? And the answer to that question is 
No. Still do not like it and could not even swallow that crap. Eww. So, I stuffed it back in the bag and then headed towards home. When I got near New Stanton I saw a Sheetz not to far off the turnpike so I popped off - you can always get a yogurt or something  fast there .......

Except when every frigging person that lives in New Stanton is at Sheetz, Christ Almighty! You had to see it to believe it, the line worked it's way to the back, and this on a Monday night! I just left, even if I had been able to get near something I would have been there forever. There was a Wendy's across the road and no one on line (since everyone was at Sheetz!!) I ended up getting , I kid you not - a baked potato. Have you ever tried to eat a baked potato while driving 80 miles an hour down the turnpike? It's do-able but not recommended. So if anyone ever wonders why I bring my lunch to work every day of the week - this would be why!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Forgive Me As I Tresspass Against You.

When I worked as a visit nurse I did a fair amount of trespassing - I LOVE to take pictures and have owned a digital camera pretty much since they came on the market. I'll take 20 pictures of one thing to get just the right angle or the best light. Working in West Virginia was an awesome place to take pictures, since I traveled all over it was not a big deal to pull over for 5 minutes to take a few. I often spent my lunch in the graveyards, WV has no end of the most Gothic, ornate gravestones.  It also has no end of abandoned houses and buildings, I often  wondered what happened to the people that lived there - did they still own the property? Or did the houses fall into such disrepair they simply walked away?

I've been getting more clients down near me so I actually got a little trespassing in last week! You really can't do that in Pittsburgh, too many people and I'm always afraid it is not as abandoned as I think - the chances of squatters are a lot higher in the city. So had to work this weekend and on the way back stopped at a couple I've had my eye on. One was a beautiful brick home that is a real shame. The windows are out and as you can see from the pictures, anything worth saving was destroyed by asshats. I did not go upstairs or in the basement as I had no phone service in that area. If I don't have a phone I am very careful - if I go through the floor no one knows where I am and unless someone spots my car I'm on my own.  

And then there is this lovely old church - I took a few pictures and then tried the back door - one of the things I've learned from flipping houses is a LOT of back doors are left open, (ALOT!). I did a very quick run and was disappointed for my trouble. Looking at the outside I was all Pews and Alters, what I got was plastic green bucket chairs and folding tables. Oh well! I wasn't supposed to be in there anyhow. The outside was way funner than the inside, but if you don't look you don't know and now I don't have to wonder when I drive by.  I have taken a few pictures of some graves but lately it's just been drive thru, I have to say very few bone yards in Pennsylvania can hold a candle to the ones in WV. But if you don't look you don't know and half of the fun is looking!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Day

So, I took a day off this week for no reason at all. On Friday I did a little catch up work, but then..... I did some cleaning. And shopping, there were a few things I needed. A load of laundry, put away my summer clothes and mopped the floor, how did it get so dirty so fast?...not much of a day off. It's hard to have any down time these days, every time I get five minutes I instantly want to use it to get ahead on everything I'm behind on. By the time I'm done catching up it's Monday again and off I go.

When I got up on Saturday I realized there was still plenty to do, but not that actually needed doing right now. So I went back to bed with coffee # 3 and read a few chapters of the book I've been trying to finish all week.  I took the dogs for a really long time outside to the old horse pasture and let them snuffle to their hearts content. They did not manage to find anything stupid enough to hand around, but they had fun. I read a few more chapters and finally finished the book. 

I binge watched The Mindy Project which is my new obsession. I always thought I would hate that show and never watched it until now. I saw one episode by accident and now I'm completely hooked, thank goodness for Hulu which has all 6 seasons! I of course was knitting, I'm working on blankets for my granddaughter and I'm 3/4 of the way through the first one. We are heading in the direction in the near future so I need to finish blanket #1 then I can start #2 on my way there. I was going to take my red shawl with me since that (only) needs about 32 more rows but it's too big and has the potential to annoy many people. Not to mention I do not want to drag too much with me. I did not cook, clean or do anything useful. I watched an entire season of The Mindy Project, drank coffee, finished a book and started a book, knit, played with the dogs and took a nap. And you know what? The world did not stop because I did. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from the universe once in a while.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Letting The Dust Settle

We were trying to remember when exactly we officially moved into this house - we had bought it before we sold the other one, but it sat for a while before we did anything with it. I was surprised that we have lived here for about two months, it seems so much longer than that. David has been moving along at lightening speed, but it's a bit disjointed. When you move into a gutted house you don't work on it room by room - you do what you have to to make it habitable, then you keep going back as you acquire supplies. David did half the bathroom and only one of the sinks is hooked up right now, then he started the siding. He spackled the living room, added the deck. Found the perfect tub (in Terra Alta WV), back to the bathroom,  finished the dining room, added steps out front, garage door. It will be a few more months before we fully unpack. 

Buying an older home is always a challenge, you become very creative with storage as there is usually only one or two closets in the entire house. Back when this house was built there were no Calphalon pot collections, you didn't have wardrobes, no Sams Club or Walmart, you had only enough to get by. Most older homes had no bedroom closets but hooks  on the walls, maybe one small bathroom closet if you were lucky and a few kitchen cabinets. David and I had seriously decluttered before we left the Mapletown address, I cannot count how many bins went to Goodwill and yet.....
there is still more. 

I have not switched over to my winter clothes yet but as we were moving stuff around (the Ikea has TONS of drawers between the underbed and dressers) and I got rid of more stuff. As I've said in the past you have to be careful not to go overboard and throw out everything only to have to re-buy it a month down the road. David cut out the walls upstairs into the eaves and added doors since we do not have an attic and the basement is already cramped with construction supplies and overflow. 

The other issue is the dust and the dirt - never ending! We sweep and sweep, mop, dust, vacuum, wipe down,scrub and by the next morning you cannot tell. We track plaster dust, sawdust, mud and dirt, grass, leaves - I have not vacuumed out my car in a month because it's pointless. This will end in a couple of months and then it'll be like we've lived here forever. We have the main living area pretty well put straight and once he gets done with the outside (before the weather turns) then we'll focus on the inside. I would like my front stairs done though so we can company!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Making Room

So, one of the problems with moving into a (not quite) half finished renovation is there is literally no where to put anything. David is currently trying to get the outside of the house done before the weather turns, then will have a few months to concentrate on the inside. Except for the floor and the walls in the kitchen part of the diningroom/kitchen area that is fairly finished so we could put away that stuff, and the bedroom needs a new ceiling and light fixture (the bare bulb, cut-rate motel look of the current one is just not doing it for me) so that's not bad. The rest of the house is Spackle, bare studs, or old walls. We did put the livingroom together for now, upstairs is pretty much storage. We'd put off buying new bedroom furniture since we pretty much got rid of everything we had at the last house, however, we are tired of sleeping on Dog Level which gives the posse full access. David has woken up just about every night being spooned by hunting dogs so it was time to step up our game. 

We had been using my grandmother's furniture temporarily but it's so old now I really don't like to use it. We'd been looking  but could find nothing that met our needs - one of the big problems with an older home is there is very little storage so anything we purchased needed to be utilitarian. And you know what that means...

Ikea. 

There's a store up in Robinson so we went Saturday, got there a bit early and  decided to have breakfast. David was not thrilled with the sausages but I did remind hm we were eating in a furniture store, not Bob Evans. I've been to Ikea, but never really bought much, David's never been and you never know how he'll react.
He loved it. 
I thought I would end up dying there we were there so long. I have to say I enjoyed it, they have the displays so you can really sit or even lay on the product before you invest. But David does indeed shop like a teenage girl at Hot Topic when it comes to furniture of building supplies. Long discussions with the sales clerk as they looked at every color, back and forth - I actually left for awhile to explore the store and came back only to find we went from Black/Brown to Natural Oak. We were no longer looking for just a bed and maybe a dresser - bed, underbed storage, two dressers, nightstands, shelves......and a bath mat since someone was getting a little crazy. 

Then we headed to the Marketplace which is a giant warehouse and you got down your list of Aisles and Bins. You have to be careful to read them because a lot of the items come in more than one package, we ended up with two of those flat carts  wandering around with other people with flat carts piled. You have to just about put blinders on because you keep seeing stuff you Really Need or Isn't That Cute or I Bet That Would Look Perfect In The Home Office I Don't Actually Have But I Might Some Day. We got through the check out only acquiring the aforementioned bathmat and a multi plug - David went and got the van. When we went to load they have a  staff member outside who asks if you need help, David said no thank you I don't need help and I said Oh Yes You Do - he said I Do? , Yes, You'd Love Some Help I replied   and then he told the kid well, I guess I need some help then. David got both the dressers put together, he'll do the bed and night stands tomorrow but it already looks much better. We've been moving furniture upstairs which will make the renovation a little harder upstairs, but not impossible. I'm ready for bed!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sliding Into Fall

The weather cooled, then got hot, cool and now it's back to warm and very humid. I had thought about swapping out to my fall clothes, David had pondered taking the small airconditioner out of the bedroom window - we have done neither. I'm hoping things calm down a little bit more and we can hopefully get back to our regularly scheduled programming. I went to a festival a couple of weeks ago up in Saxonburg that was a revolutionary/colonial sort of thing with Ye Oldes and so forth. Not my usual cup of tea, but I had a reason to be there - the Alpaca ladies as they are known have hung up thier spinning wheels and will no longer be producing my beloved lace weight yarn. I had emailed them (twice) and Sharon told me she was bringing everything  - there is no better way to sell things then to tell someone it will never, ever be available ever again, is there? Some poor soul was trying to purchase a pair of socks while I piled skeins and then put them back and got another one, decisions, decisions. I finally bought 7 skeins (they are all about 2500 yards each) and left, texting my knitting group with pictures. I was back at the tent as one of my friends asked me to buy her a couple of skeins too....

We have been to the winery across the road - Thistlewaite Winery - I got home a little early one evening as my client was close by. We drove over and Rick, the owner met us out front - it is a really beautiful, high end establishment. We did a wine tasting and they have a lovely variety - they grow the grapes there and produce the wine on the property, hopefully at some point we can get a tour of the rest. Rick gave us two bottles of wine as a welcome to the neighborhood gift, how generous. One of our other neighbors Jane comes over to see (and report) the progress David has made. From what she and the other neighbors have said, they were very relieved when we bought the place with the intention of fixing up instead of patching it and renting it to low income. The neighbors continue to drive by and beep and wave - when we get to the point you can get in the house without having to navigate the mud and so forth we will start entertaining. The dining room is almost ready and the lving room is not looking too shabby.

Work has been very busy, we will be opening the new office in the next few months and I will be working much closer to home - that I'm really looking foward to! Right now it's not too bad, I found a nice back way and it's about 20 minutes - and 20 miles closer so my drive is not only 45 miles which in my head is reasonable. If you add it up I'm actually driving 200 miles less a week - I can live with that. I've been reading a lot, I got my new Kobo H20 2nd Edition which I've been waiting for -forever or at least 3 months. Which felt like forever. I had a little issue with it connecting to the internet but returning it would have been annoyingly difficult and if I have to confess -I do not want to do without it so I've decided I can live with it. I've been working on my Day Lily shawl and today am now on the last of the three rounds of 40 rows, hopefully I'll finish before I expire!!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Flip Flop

When I tell people we flip houses they usually respond they've thought about it and would like to get into it. I noticed when I mentioned that just the other morning while getting ready for work I found a roach happily bumbling around on my bedspread or when we discovered the funny smell in the basement was a leaking septic pipe the enthusiasm seems to dim a bit. People freak out when they find we paid $40 for the door they paid $1500 for or that my bathroom vanity only cost me 300 as opposed to the retail price of $1300. You can do it too, if you're willing to spend every weekend digging through the clearance pile at the local home store, culling Facebook Marketplace and then driving to points unknown to get the perfect claw foot tub. 
We're very excited about this house because we have managed to collect what we like. But it has taken days and weeks to get it. And you can't be picky or a perfectionist - if you are you need to find something else to do. Just about everything we buy is dinged, damaged, returned or used. The beautiful front door with the leaded glass has a crack in the corner of the glass. The cherry oak entertainment system has a chunk out of the side. The claw foot tub is a bit rusty, the big bathroom vanity has some scuffs and a door that needed glued. My entire kitchen? Was someone else's kitchen once upon a time, we still cannot get the light to turn out in the oven but it makes a good night light! When David hung the chandelier (originally $300, returned and we bought it for $50) we had to laugh because it hung 10 inches above our dining room table! But he was able to remove the pole and chain and it's great now.

We deal with leaks, mold, bugs and things that go bump in the night in stride. When I found the roach no one screamed. David found his glasses and we Googled Roaches in Pennsylvania - it turned out to be a wood roach, not a cock roach. We live in chaos for months, today I rearranged the bedroom again and it finally no longer feels like we're sleeping in a supply closet. The box spring is on the floor and will remain there until we find the furniture we really want. Until then I'm using my grandmother's dresser and David is the using the one we used to store sheets. If you look at my pictures they tend to be of the kitchen, dining room and living room because everywhere else is piled with boxes and building materials. But that's ok - as each room is done we unpack and rearrange and by January we should be ready to have guests. 

Some people can't do that and it does get to me once in awhile. But it does not last long and it's a temporary situation, sometimes a very funny one. We've slept on floors, eaten using a cooler as a table, washed dishes in the bathtub and chased cows out of our yard. As hard as it can be, in the end it's a great feeling to step back at what used to be an eyesore and marvel at what it has become.